Building Better Communities

Is Main Street a Model for HRM Suburbs?

With its pre-determined building heights and streamlined planning approval process, the Main Street Community Improvement District has set a new standard for urban planning in HRM. Adopted 5 years ago, the planning approach is starting to drive new investment, and a recently adopted age friendly community plan is laying the foundation for community stewardship. Another innovation: the Community Improvement District has asked to review its local area plan and has been given the nod from HRM’s planning department for the community to get started on its own.

Streamlined urban planning rules, the creation of an age friendly community and community-based investment, are a unique combination in HRM.

An effective marriage seems to be unfolding between urban planning, economic development and community stewardship in the transformation of this suburban Dartmouth district.

(by David Harrison, MCIP.  David is an economic development associate with Montreal-based LGP Strategies.  He is former Chair of the Canadian Institute of Planners’ Healthy Community Initiative.)

Making the Suburbs Cool Again

The Village On Main NS is reinventing the suburbs in HRM, and it's looking pretty darn cool. This video was made possible with the support of PLANifax, thank you! Learn more about our vision for Main St., including our age-friendly community plan at Dartmouth, Hoghorn BBQ, Green Cap Auto Repair & Sales Ltd., Stevens Road United Baptist Church, Ebony Hair Salon, Greco Pizza Donair, Metro Karate Training Centre, Tacoma Dental Centre, Darren Fisher, Tony Mancini, Tactical Tattooing, Into The Wild – Exotic Pets & Supplies, Doolittle's Sportsbar & Grill Tim Halman Sackville Business Association Spryfield Business Commission Jim Knox Greg Fong Balance Fitness: Health and Wellness Centre Petstuff On The Go DermaEnvy Skincare – Dartmouth, NS David Harrison Jacob Ritchie Mike Savage Metro Business Association Our HRM Alliance It's More Than Buses Tristan Cleveland Cole Harbour & Area Business Association Ross Grant Sackville Rivers Association

Posted by Village On Main NS on Monday, January 15, 2018

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Dartmouth Economic Development Report

Dartmouth Economic Development Report (2017), by David Harrison, MCIP

Welcome to all businesses who have set up shop in Dartmouth last year. That includes 15 new businesses in Downtown Dartmouth and 18 new businesses in the Main Street district. The Greater Halifax Partnership estimates a decline of 37 businesses in Burnside (their suggested reason is a decline in manufacturing), following a gain of 47 companies in 2015. Burnside maintains a very stable and significant business base of approximately 1,200 companies. 
The Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) – the former Coast Guard base – has had expressions of interest from 51 organizations and Waterfront Development plans on making 20-30 tenancy offers in 6 months time. 
Did you know that there is no more land for sale in Woodside Industrial Park? 
Finally, congrats to Hearthstone Inn, winner of the Tourism Industry Association 2017 Pineapple Award, in recognition of hotels that have gone above and beyond what is expected to enrich visitor stays in Nova Scotia.
David Harrison is a consulting associate with Montreal-based LGP Strategies
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Main Street’s Age Friendly Plan a Model for HRM

The Main Street Dartmouth Community Improvement District is proactively tackling the issues and opportunities associated with an aging society.  A number of organizations have recently joined the initiative including: Sobeys, Nightingale, Dartmouth Learning Network and NSCC Akerley Campus.  It is clear the continued leadership of the Dartmouth Community Health Team and local churches (pastoral care) will be important outreach elements in this suburban area of Dartmouth. Also of interest:

  • The District is now using its Age Friendly Community Plan as its strategic plan.
  • The linking of groups and individuals around the Plan’s goals is the key to successful implementation.  There are goals, objectives and actions established for Open Space and the Built Environment, Transportation, Housing, Social Connectivity and Civic Engagement, Health and Community Support Services, Community Economic Development (Silver Economy) and building Awareness and Communication.
  • Age friendly community planning is not just about seniors, but proof positive that when you plan for the elderly you are also planning for every other age group.
  • Work to date shows it is important that an age friendly community plan be community driven.
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Rights Based Housing Approach Needed in NS

NS municipalities should position themselves by adopting a rights-based housing approach as per Canada’s new National Housing Strategy. This is best tackled by way of updating the Provincial Interest Statement on Housing, which is planned in 2018 (under SHIFT).

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West Hants Strategic Plan

The new West Hants Strategic Plan has 8 goals: Economic Development; Agriculture; Financial Management; Inter-Municipal Cooperation; Community Connections; Inclusive and Supportive Community; Tourism, Arts & Culture and Implementation. The strategic plan responds to input from the community engagement process and helps Council set its priorities for the next few years.

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